The Pickwick Papers | Study Guide

Charles Dickens

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The Pickwick Papers | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

The Pickwickians attend a costume party breakfast held by Mrs. Leo Hunter, who prides herself on collecting together guests "celebrated by their works and talents." At the party Mr. Pickwick chats briefly with other guests before being introduced to a "Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall," Mr. Jingle under a phony name. Mr. Jingle takes off as soon as he sees Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick learns where Jingle has been staying and sets off immediately with Sam.

Analysis

Dickens, who was not yet a famous writer, has some fun with people who earn undeserved attention for their writings. The hostess of the party believes she is—and should be—famous because of her poem, "Ode to an Expiring Frog." As if the title was not clue enough, the poem is amateurish and poorly written. Like Mr. Pickwick, the hostess has earned a reputation that she may not fully deserve.

Mr. Jingle reappears dressed as a naval officer using the name Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall. Mr. Jingle is attempting to swindle the party's hostess. More significantly, the use of the name "Fitz-Marshall" could imply that he is related to nobility, as some illegitimate sons of noble families used "Fitz" as part of their surname. Of course it isn't his real name, but it is not difficult to envision Mr. Jingle capitalizing on that belief.

While Mr. Pickwick takes off after Mr. Jingle, Mr. Tupman stays at the party and enjoys himself. This suggests that Mr. Tupman's passion for Miss Rachael Wardle may not have been as substantial as he himself believed.

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